We’ve got just 50 slots to recognize the city’s top PR firms every year, but there are scores of specialist agencies that merit honorable mention. With that in mind, the Observer ranked agencies in each of 10 major categories that define the industry.
Hundred Stories – Creative firm whose edge is bringing art, entertainment, literary and culinary stardust to building projects.
HWPR – Harriet Weintraub’s luxury-oriented firm knows how to market top-end buildings, and has a high-society Rolodex to match.
Relevance New York – For top-end residential projects and corporate real-estate giants—Sotheby’s, Houlihan Lawrence and their ilk—Suzanne Rosnowski’s young firm brings fresh approaches.
Geto & DeMilly – Longtime firm brings potent public-affairs toolbox to clients like Zeckendorf.
Mercury – The city’s biggest developers, including Tishman, Silverstein, Durst and Related, rely on Kieran Mahoney and Mike DuHaime’s firm, as do personalities like Rev. Al Sharpton.
Kite Hill PR – Business doubled here this year, thanks to new clients like Trusted Media Brands and Salon Media Group. And founder Tiffany Guarnaccia is the brains behind Communications Week, which has become a major industry event since its 2014 launch.
Crenshaw – Revenues are up 25 percent at Dorothy Crenshaw’s brainy firm with new clients like wearable-tech leader Wearsafe, Magic Johnson-backed recruiting-tool Jopwell and more.
Launchsquad – It’s not just about tech here but about tech in food (Teabox, Munchery), travel (HostelWorld, OneFineStay) and entertainment (Netflix, iHeartRadio).
Small Girls PR – No longer that small, this six-year-old player now employs 36 people—and made its first acquisition this year, L.A. firm No Subject. GE’s still a client.
Derris – The firm, shepherding Google’s tech incubator Jigsaw, along with Equinox, Warby Parker and William Morris Endeavor, recently opened a San Francisco office to increase its reach.
Stu Loeser – His background may be in politics, but this year Loeser’s firm made big inroads in tech, working with Silicon Valley giants (Uber, Google and Tesla) and launching a startup equity program.
Paul Wilmot Communications – Handled Lane Bryant’s body positivity campaign and Sean John’s new fragrance, and had continued success with LVMH watches. This 20-year-old firm also looked toward a digital future this year, launching TAG Heuer and Intel’s smart timepiece.
Karla Otto – With eight international offices and luxury clients like Bottega Veneta, Bulgari and Ex Nihilo, it’s no wonder Otto’s brands have been gracing magazine covers for over 30 years.
Krupp Group – Cindy Krupp’s well-respected firm works hard for luxury clients, like Naeem Khan, Ileana Makri, Aquatalia and Sandro Paris
LaForce – James LaForce is doing fine, thank you, after shedding his former biz partner in a messy split. Pirch’s Soho opening made a massive splash, and LaForce shines for clients like Target, Banana Republic and LinkedIn.
Factory PR – Pre-eminent firm, repping iconic names like Macy’s and Steve Madden, also supports new designers through its work with the Parsons School of Design.
Red PR – Julia Labaton’s results-focused firm keeps growing in its rarefied niche – products and services for beauty professionals and insiders.
Marina Maher Communications – Helped CoverGirl unveil its first “CoverBoy” and made Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You Mom” video the hit of the Olympics.
Pierce Mattie Communications – The firm that made Old Navy young and hip and got (seemingly) every woman to buy a Guess handbag.
CRC – Cindy Riccio’s digital-focused agency keeps growing, with brands like BeYu Cosmetics and YouCam Makeup on board, along with accessory brands like Hanes Hosiery, Kenneth Cole and Ted Baker Watches.
Style House – Ten-year-old firm with lots of indie brands, along with established clients like Prescriptives.
Hall PR – Steven Hall’s earned the trust of serious restaurateurs like David Bouley and Roxanne Spruance, whose Kingsley is Zagat’s 2017 newcomer of the year.
Bullfrog & Baum – Katz’s (yes, that Katz’s) was one of the marquee wins for this venerable food and beverage firm, whose clients also include brands like Bobby’s Burger Palace, Blue Ribbon Restaurants and Four Seasons Hotels.
Michelle Lehmann Communications – Reps restaurants owned by James Beard winners and celebrities like Curtis Stone—and handles a lot of pro bono work for city food benefits.
RVD Communications – Engineered opening press around Le Coq Rico, possibly year’s most talked-about debut.
LFB Media Group – Tao Group, Gerber Group, LDV Hospitality, Altamarea Group, Viceroy Hotel Group, Vaucluse and a growing hospitality practice.
Montieth & Company – Brexit. Nazi art theft. Hush-hush global funds. Montieth Illingworth’s globe-trotting agency sounds like the PR version of Jason Bourne but even more effective.
Vested – PR’s just part of the mix here, but Vested’s attracted big client names like Bloomberg, Elevate and Polaris.
Gasthalter – One to watch, Jonathan Gasthalter’s months-old firm already reps Point 72/Steve Cohen, Renaissance Technologies, Greenlight Capital and more.
Dukas Linden – Powerhouse agency which gets its clients regular airtime on Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox Business Network; it also has cachet in court, repping BlueMountain Capital through Supreme Court case v. Puerto Rico.
Makovsky – Rock-solid firm with wide-ranging roster of pharma, tech and corporate clients.
Shore Fire Media – This eminent firm continues to rep music royalty like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver and Elvis Costello—and it’s never gonna give up Rick Astley. But it’s also growing across culture categories, with acquiring clients like Brooklyn Bowl and Turner’s FilmStruck streaming service.
Bow Bridge Communications – Tiny firm with big clients, like ICA Boston, Frist Center for the Arts in Nashville, Onassis Cultural Center and more.
Blue Medium – Compelling mix of galleries, nonprofit art initiatives—like The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation—and commercial clients like Crozier Fine Arts
Hunt & Gather – Three-year-old firm has had a major impact in the media world, scooping up clients like New York magazine, along with tech brands like Airbnb
High10 Media – Media brands like Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter, awards like the Webbys and Clios and do-gooders like GLAAD.
Travel & Hospitality
Meg Connolly Communications – Class act with hardcore media focus for rarefied clients like Miami’s massive Faena development, Vik Retreats, Claridge’s and much more.
Hawkins International – Journalists can count on the always sunny Hawkins and her growing team of pros for accurate information and appropriate pitches. The firm represents a range of top-drawer clients, including Loews Hotels, Le Guanahani in St. Barts and the luxury cruise line Seabourn.
Lou Hammond Group – Hard-working old-school agency that’s managed to keep Mandarin Oriental as a client for three decades; big footprint across destinations, food, cruises and consumer products.
Laura Davidson PR – Quality firm with well-chosen clients like Abercrombie & Kent, Destination Sydney and Residence Inn by Marriott.
Hue & Cry – The new NYC outpost of this London firm is making a mark with clients like Westin, Mondrian, W and a flask full of spirits brands.
ElevenSix PR – Happening young firm with destinations like Thailand and Richmond, Va., and a cool portfolio of NYC hotels.
Anat Gerstein Inc. – As New York as a firm can get, Gerstein counts Asphalt Green, Flatiron business district and Flushing Town Hall as clients—and well-known former Bergen Record and New York 1 journalist Jeff Simmons as executive VP.
McPherson Strategies – The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Blackbaud and JCPenney count on cause PR veteran Susan McPherson, who’s also an angel investor in women-owned tech businesses.
Target Cue – Cathy Renna’s been the go-to publicist for LGBT issues forever, and her newish shop continues to amp media outreach with savvy community relations and social-media strategy.
Cone Communications – The agency that helped shape cause marketing is still going strong with clients like CVS, Goodyear, Bayer and more.
Fenton – Venerable “social change agency” still brings it for clients like Unilever and the MacArthur Foundation.
Cohn & Wolfe – Big ol’ brands like Barclays, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Hennessy, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Mattel, Panasonic and Smucker’s park here.
Source Communications – CEO Ken Frydman has repped institutions like the Daily News and the Port Authority. He also advised horse carriage drivers in their slam-dunk victory against the De Blasio administration. That victory led Ringling Bros. to retain Frydman to fight a NY City Council bill to ban wild and exotic animals from appearing in “entertainment” events.
Goodman Media – Tom Goodman’s firm feels as New York as Grand Central Station—which is one of his longtime clients, along with the Joe Torre Foundation, Hess and more.
Fleishman Hillard – Despite well-publicized talent defections, the firm’s still creating energetic campaigns for clients like Bayer, Levi Strauss and Avaya.
MWW – MWW’s had a shana tova—that’s “good year” in Hebrew. Just after the High Holidays, the firm announced Israel’s Ministry of Tourism had awarded MWW its highly coveted account.